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25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock 

Ranker Film
Updated March 6, 2020 1.9k votes 182 voters 8.9k views 70 items

Tick, tock, tick, tock – just the sound of a ticking clock generates anxiety, but when lives are on the line, it creates great entertainment. The top race against the clock movies put characters' lives on the line with the added pressure of meeting a life-or-death deadline. This is a list of countdown movies featuring everything from Labyrinth to Apollo 13 to Back to the Future.

What movies will you find on this list of the best ticking clock films? If you're a fan of action flicks, you might vote Terminator 2: Judgment Day has to the top. In this captivating sequel, the past, present and future converge as the T-800 Terminator protects John Connor from a future enemy. The Running Man – which also stars Arnold Schwarzenegger – is another good race against the clock movie. Keanu Reeves faced a ticking clock and a racing bus in the 1994 film Speed. Other good movies featured on this top countdown films list include The Ring, Run Lola Run, and The Manchurian Candidate.

Which countdown movie deserves the top spot on this list? Help us decide by giving your favorites a thumbs up and add any great titles that are missing.

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list ordered by
1
Back to the Future is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

Released: 1985

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Back to the Future is a 1985 American science fiction film directed by Robert Zemeckis. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into ...more

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2
Speed is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper

Released: 1994

Directed by: Jan de Bont

Speed is a 1994 American action film directed by Jan de Bont in his feature film directorial debut. The film stars Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, and Jeff Daniels. A ...more

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3
Terminator 2: Judgment D... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton

Released: 1991

Directed by: James Cameron

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a 1991 American science fiction action thriller film written, produced and directed by James Cameron. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert ...more

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4
Apollo 13 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Tom Hanks, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ed Harris

Released: 1995

Directed by: Ron Howard

Apollo 13 is a 1995 American historical docudrama film directed by Ron Howard. The film stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, and Ed Harris. The screenplay by William Broyles, ...more

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5
Ferris Bueller's Day Off... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Siersha 2 added Charlie Sheen, Matthew Broderick, Jeffrey Jones

Released: 1986

Directed by: John Hughes

Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a 1986 American comedy film written, produced and directed by John Hughes. The film follows high school senior Ferris Bueller, who skips school and spends the day in ...more

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6
Taken is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace

Released: 2008

Directed by: Pierre Morel

Taken is a 2008 French action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel. A former CIA operative (Liam Neeson) sets about tracking down his teenage daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and her best friend ...more

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7
Inception is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

Released: 2010

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Inception is a 2010 science fiction thriller film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars a large ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph ...more

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8
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig

Released: 2015

Directed by: Ridley Scott

The Martian is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the novel by Andy Weir. An astronaut (Matt Damon) becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him gone, and must ...more

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9
The Day After Tomorrow ... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid

Released: 2004

Directed by: Roland Emmerich

The Day After Tomorrow is a 2004 American climate fiction-disaster film co-written, directed, and produced by Roland Emmerich and starring Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, ...more

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10
Airplane! is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Siersha 2 added Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Leslie Nielsen, Ethel Merman

Released: 1980

Directed by: Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker

Airplane! is a 1980 American satirical disaster comedy film directed and written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker and released by Paramount Pictures. It stars Robert Hays and ...more

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11
Bill & Ted's Excelle... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Siersha 2 added Keanu Reeves, George Carlin, Jane Wiedlin

Released: 1989

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is a 1989 American science fiction comedy buddy film and the first film in the Bill & Ted franchise in which two slackers travel through time to assemble ...more

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#52 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #22 of 439 The Funniest '80s Movies #160 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

12
48 Hours is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, James Remar
48 Hours is an American documentary/news magazine television series that airs on CBS. The series has been broadcast on the network since January 19, 1988. The program airs Saturdays at 10:00 ...more

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13
WarGames is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Matthew Broderick, William H. Macy, Ally Sheedy

Released: 1983

Directed by: John Badham

WarGames is a 1983 American science-fiction film written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes and directed by John Badham. The film stars Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, and ...more

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14
Escape from New York is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Jamie Lee Curtis, Kurt Russell, Ernest Borgnine

Released: 1981

Directed by: John Carpenter

Escape from New York is a 1981 American science fiction action film co-written, co-scored, and directed by John Carpenter. The film is set in a then near-future 1997 in a distopian United States ...more

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15
Harry Potter and the Pri... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Meg Jones added Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Gary Oldman

Released: 2004

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a 2004 fantasy film directed by Alfonso Cuarón and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on the novel of the same name by J. K. ...more

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16
Outbreak is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
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Released: 1995

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

Outbreak is a 1995 American medical disaster film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and based on Richard Preston's non-fiction book The Hot Zone. The film stars Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, and ...more

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17
Labyrinth is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie, Frank Oz

Released: 1986

Directed by: Jim Henson

Labyrinth is a 1986 British-American musical adventure fantasy film directed by Jim Henson, executive produced by George Lucas and based upon conceptual designs by Brian Froud. The film stars ...more

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18
Cinderella is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
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Released: 1950

Directed by: Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi

Cinderella is a 1950 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. Based on the fairy tale "Cendrillon" by Charles Perrault, it is ...more

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19
The Ring is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Naomi Watts, Pauley Perrette, Brian Cox

Released: 2002

Directed by: Gore Verbinski

The Ring is a 2002 American psychological horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts. It is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, which was based on the novel Ring ...more

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20
Source Code is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga

Released: 2011

Directed by: Duncan Jones

Source Code is a 2011 science fiction film directed by Duncan Jones, written by Ben Ripley, and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright. The film had its ...more

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21
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
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Released: 1995

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

12 Monkeys, also known as Twelve Monkeys, is a 1995 American science fiction film directed by Terry Gilliam, inspired by Chris Marker's 1962 short film La Jetée, and starring Bruce ...more

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22
Dr. Strangelove or: How ... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
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Released: 1964

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, more commonly known as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 political satire black comedy film that satirizes fears of a nuclear ...more

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23
The Quick and the Dead ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Siersha 2 added Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe

Released: 1995

Directed by: Sam Raimi

This film is a 1995 western film directed by Sam Raimi and starring Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio. The story focuses on "The Lady", a gunfighter who ...more

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24
Scrooged is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
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Released: 1988

Directed by: Richard Donner

Scrooged is a 1988 American Christmas comedy film, a modernization of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The film was produced and directed by Richard Donner, and the cinematography was by ...more

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25
The Running Man is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 25+ Great Movies That Have a Ticking Clock
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Brown, Jesse Ventura

Released: 1987

Directed by: Paul Michael Glaser

The Running Man is a 1987 American science fiction action film loosely based on the 1982 novel The Running Man, written by Stephen King and published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. ...more

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